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Q. Did the opinion that you got in Boston have anything to do with reversing their decision ?--A. I was going to remark, tltat on the even. ing on which I went to see these selectmen in regard to this young man (be and others were pressing me to get their names on the list), I told the selectmen tbat I was not satisfied with that decision and we had quite a heated or animated discussion for perhaps three-quarters of an hour, more or less, thougb good natured of course, and when they got through, they asked me to come in again. I told them I should not come near them again. I came to Boston and got an opinion from the clerk of the court. On Tuesday evening, I think, I returned home and went to the town-house, where I found Mr. Bradford and showed him the opinion. He took it and was going to put it in the drawer, remarking he would lay it before the full board. I knew that they did not meet until the next Saturday and therefore I told him I would keep it, that it was a matter in which these men were directly interested. I thought it would be entirely too late if not acted upon until the next Saturday.
0. Did they not have a meeting before that day !--A, Practically they bad a meeting every night. I considered it so, because, as the board was scattered, whatever Mr. Nelson said they generally agreed to in matters of this kind, as he was right in the center of the town.
Q. When Mr. Bradford said that he would lay it before the full board, you supposed that he meant at a meeting which would be held on Saturday?--A. On Saturday. Practically that was shelving it.
Q. Who were these two young men who you knew yourself were prevented from voting ?--A. They were not prevented from voting, as the decision was finally reversed. One of them was registered because he had got naturalized, and, as to the other, I heard something like this (I will not be sure but that one of those young men told me this) that after I had come to Boston to get that decision from the clerk of the court, these young men, while looking further for opinions, had consulted the city solicitor of Boston (Mr. Stackpole, I think) in regard to it and that he had given them, not an opinion, but a promise of one; they were waiting for it. I think that at last they got some reply from him which was not satisfactory ; that they finally sent to consult the attorney. general and that the opinion which they got from that officer was not satisfactory. But, as I have said, about ten o'clock on Monday evening, the decision was reversed. What I was going to say further was that on, I think, Friday evening this young man (Carr) came to me and told me he understood that one young man had been registered upon the assumption that the decision might be rerersed. I told him he had better go up and demand that bis name be put on if that was the case. He went up there and, I believe, they did allow him to register bis name on the ground that the decision might be reversed by the attorney. general.
Q. Practically, do you not think that all who had been excluded by the board were admitted to the registry ?-A. That I could not state.
Q. You cannot give us the name of any one who, in fact, was excluded ? -A. All that I know of are the cases of these two young men, one of whom was born within two rods of Plymouth Rock and thought he was re.. quired to be naturalized.
NOTE. The naturalization certificate of Morrison produced by the witness is as follows:)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
[('ut of Eagie.
COMMOXWEILTH OF MASSACHUSETTS,
Plymouth County, 88 :
Know ye that at a superior court, begun and holden at Plymouth, within and for the county of Plymouth, on the fourth Monday of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-eight, Alexander Morrison, of Plymouth, in the county of Plymouth and State of Massachusetts, born in the town of Sandwich, in the county of Barnstable, Massachusetts, Laving produced the evidence, and taken and subscribed the oath required by law, was admitted to become a citizen of the said United States, according to the acts of Congress in such case made and provided.
In testimony whereof I have herennto set my hand and affixed the seal of said court at Plymouth, in said county, this first day of November, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and seventy-eight. (SEAL OF COURT.)
WM. H. WHITMAN, Clerk.
W. H. NELSON sworn and examined.
By the CHAIRMAN: Question. Where do you live!-Aunswer. At Plymouth, Plymouth Co.
Q. What was your official position last year ?-A. I was chairman of the selectmen.
Q. You were chairman of the board of selectmen having charge of the election and registration !-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Of how many was that board composed ?-A. There were five members.
Q. State their politics.-A. Four were Republicans, one was a Democrat.
Q. State what action the board took on the subject of the registration of men of foreign parentage in Massachusetts, what the decision of the board was, how it was reversed and the facts concerning it.-A. The registration law was passed a year ago last winter, and went into effect, I think, at the November election of 1877. At that time, there was considerable feeling ou both sides that under the new registration law everybody entitled to be registered should be registered. As there were some complications growing out of it, Mr. Davis, a Democratic lawyer of our town, wanted to instruct is in the matter and we asked him and a young Republican lawyer of that town to give us an opinion.
Q. As to who were entitled to registration ?-A. Yes. That was in 1877, prior to the first election under the registation law. At that time, it was their opinion that men born of alien parents were not entitled to registration.
Q. Give the name of the other layer to whom you applied ? A. Arthur Lord. There was no conflict, I think, growing out of it during the election of 1877, but, in the fall of 1878, there were, of those who applied for registration, five or six, I think, who had been born of alien parents and whose parents had not been naturalized.
Q. Were they born within the State ?-A. They were born within the State. We told them we did not think, from the opinions we had, that they were entitled to be registered, but that they took the nationality of their parents until they had declared their allegiance to the United States Government. That was the opinion that we entertained on both sides. We also told them that we would make such inquiry as would satisfy us as to their right, and would give them sufficient time before the election to register if they were entitled to register. We consulted the clerk of our courts and Mr. Healey, of Boston. The opinion of those gentlemen coincided with that of the other two lawyers who had given us their opinion.
Q. Is Mr. Healey a lawyer ?-A. Mr. Healey is the city solicitor of Boston. The opposition, I think, consulted General Butler when he spoke at our place, who very frankly gave his opinion that the men were entitled to registration and entitled to vote, and his adherents pressed upon us to accept his decision. I thought that, as he was an interested party, we bad better get somebody else, so we applied to the attorney-general for his opinion.
Q. When was that?-A. That was last fall, prior to the election. The attorney-general, being very busy at the time, could not spend time to look into the matter. I think that Mr. Shumway came up here and got . the opinion of the clerk of the court. We afterwards consulted with some others in regard to it and found that it was the practice in Boston and in some other places to register such persons. We then decided to give those persons the benefit of the doubt and allow them to register.
Q. When was that decision made public ?-A. That decision was made public on the Saturday afternoon or Monday afternoon prior to the election. I think that we held sessions on the afternoons of Saturday and Monday, and that we reached that decision in the course of the afternoon on Monday or Saturday.
Q. How many of the class of persons referred to, who had not registered prior to that time, did register after that decision became public ?A. As far as my recollection goes, all those who had been applying for registration then registered.
Q. Can you give the number ?-A. I cannot recollect the precise number; I think there might have been six or eight.
Q. Was there any desire or request on the part of any of the board that those men should be naturalized before being entitled to registration; was that what the board held ?-A. I think we held upon the opinion we had received from the lawyers, that they would be required to be naturalized before they could vote. I am not sure that we said to any of those so applying that they would be required to be registered. I do not recollect on that point.
By Mr. PLATT:
Q. Who is Mr. Davis ?-A. He is a lawyer.
Q. Does he hold any official position ?-A. He is now judge there in the State court.
Q. He was a man in whose opinion as a lawyer you had confidenceA. Yes, sir; he is considered to be a very good lawyer.
Q. I understand that you had acted upon that opinion in 1877 and that no fault had been found with or objection made to it?-A. Yes, sir. no objection had been made to it. I do not know that any cases came up that year of persons born of alien parents applying for registration, but we should have so acted under that opinion if any such had applied.
Q. The registration law was a new thing ?-A. Yes, sir; we required all citizens of foreign birth to show their naturalization papers before being registered. Before that, a great many who had been on the list had voted without producing proof of naturalization. When they came to register, we required them to show their naturalization papers.
Q. Was there division or unanimity in the board of selectmen on that point?-A. We were unanimous.
Q. You are not a lawyer, and there was no lawyer on the board !A. No, sir.
Q. And in a matter which you supposed was one involving a purely legal question you took the advice of a lawyer in whom you had confidence ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. Mr. Davis had been a Democratic candidate for Congress in that district 1-A. I think he had.
By Mr. McDONALD : Q. Was tbe application which was made to Mr. Davis for an opinion made by you ?-A. I think he came in of his own accord wben we opened or were about to open the registration list, and suggested to us that we should be very particular and not let any names get upon the registry list that were not entitled to be there.
By Mr. PLATT:
By Mr. McDONALD: Q. Was not the opinion that he gave you this, that persons of foreign birth coming to this country under eighteen years of age would have to be naturalized, unless their fathers were naturalized ?-A. I think not.
Q. I understand that he dissents from that which you have intimated as his opinion ? A. If I had known that I was to be summoned here this morning, I think I could have brought with me the decision given by him in writing.
Q. Do you say that the opinion which he gave was that, unless their parents were naturalized, persons of foreigu parentage born in this country, were required to be naturalized to entitle themselves to citi. zenship?–A. I think so. I think that the opinion was that persons born of alien parents, whose parents had not at the time taken out pa. pers, were required to be naturalized.
Q. It was not that minors coming to this country under eighteen years of age must be naturalized unless their parents were naturalized ? -A. No; I do not think that that was the opinion he gave.
Q. Did the city solicitor of Boston give you an opinion :- A. The clerk of our courts went to him, and got bis opinion verbally, as I have stated.
Q. You say you think that the opinion which you got was not that persons coming into this country under the age of eighteen years, would have to be naturalized, unless their parents were naturalized !-A. It was not, because the very question we were considering was their having been born in this country of alien parents.
Q. You thought that they took the nationality of their parents, until they themselves had renounced allegiance to every foreign potentate and sovereignty, particularly to that sorereignty under which their parents, not they, were born ?--A. Yes, sir.
Q. As to persons coming into this country as agents or representatives of foreign nations, and being here domiciled as agents of their own country, your rule would apply; so, also, as to persons going from the United States on official business or traveling in foreign countries. But did you understand that that rule applied to the children of per. sons who had settled here, lived here for many years, died here, and wbo for some reason or other had not taken out naturalization papers ? -A. I supposed that the children acquired the allegiance of their parents until they forswore allegiance to any foreign government.
Q. And that they were liable to do military duty abroad ?-A. Yes, sir; I thought that they would be liable to do wilitary duty abroad.
By the CHAIRMAN :
Q. You applied in 1878 to the city solicitor, who did not give you a written opinion, but confirmed verbally the opinion that you had got the year before l-A. Yes, sir.
Q. How did Mr. Davis vote in 1878 ?-A. I cannot say how he did vote, whether he went for or against General Butler. I have heard him talk both ways.
By Mr. McDONALD : Q. He has been elected judge since he gave that opinion, has hel-A. No; prior to that.
By Mr. PLATT : Q. (Referring to the naturalization certificate of Morrison appended to the testimony of the preceding witness.) This paper states that the man was naturalized on the fourth Monday of October, 1878, before the judge of the superior court. Do you know who was the judge of the superior court on that day?-A. I cannot now recollect his name.
Q. Do you know anything personally about this matter?-A. About the naturalization ? I do not.
Q. You do not kuow whether the judge of that court took the same view of that matter that had been taken by Mr. Davis and the city solici. tor !-A. I do not.
Q. It appears, as shown by this paper, that the judge naturalized a man who had been born in this country!-A. I presume that he did.
Q. Do you know whether Mr. Morrison registered when he got this paper 1-A. I tbink that he did.
Q. He was denied registration until he got it ?-A. I don't know of his having applied for registration until he got the paper.
ANDREW CARR sworn and examined.
By the CHAIRMAN :
2. Did you live there last fall ?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. What are the facts about your being registered last year 1-A. I went to Mr. Lemuel Bradford and told him that I wished to have my name on the list. He asked me, "Are you naturalized ?" I replied, “ No, sir." He asked me, “Was your father ?" I replied, “No, sir; but I was born in this country." "That don't make any difference," he said, " you have got to be naturalized.” I told him I would not be naturalized, and then went out. I met my oldest brother and told him that Mr. Brad. ford said we would bave to be naturalized. After that, my brother and I met Mr. Robbins in the Green back headquarters and informed him of this, when he told me to come over on Monday night. I went over on Monday nignt, and went up to see Mr. Bradford again, who then said